One of the most important lessons we can teach our children is to approach their education and their lives in a way that doesn’t allow challenges and barriers to limit growth and accomplishments. The children of Oak Meadow should feel that their individual educational journey has unlimited potential despite the steep hills and road blocks they will certainly encounter along the way.
Dr. Maria Montessori always emphasized that the life energy that helped children achieve their potential came from within themselves, and not from external factors. She believed that the role of educators was not to fill the children with content as if they were empty vessels, but instead to awaken that life energy already within each child to reach their full potential and capabilities.
This week at the school community meeting, students and teachers watched a video of Amanda Gorman, the National Youth Poet Laureate, reciting her poem, The Hill We Climb, at the Presidential Inauguration. We talked about breaking through barriers — not only our own personal barriers but also the obstacles the world may put up because of our gender or race or age.
When I first listened to Ms. Gorman reading her poem at Inauguration, it reminded me of the power of poetry in our personal growth and self-expression. One of my favorite memories as a dad was reading a poem together with my daughters every night. Cultivating a love of poetry in children, and helping them to learn to express their thoughts and feelings through poetry, is one way for children to learn and grow, not only as writers but as human beings. It is also a wonderful way for parents to bond with their children. During this unusual time in the world, helping your children express their feelings through the creative outlet of poetry writing can also be a healthy outlet that supports their mental well being. Curling up on the sofa with a book of poetry and a cup of cocoa on a cold winter day is highly recommended.